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Thread: Virginia Metal Detecting Laws

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  1. #1
    us
    Nov 2007
    Woodbridge, VA
    AT Pro
    53
    2 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting

    Virginia Metal Detecting Laws

    One thing that always keeps me from venturing out to MD in the Maryland/DC/Virginia area is so much talk about laws because of the rich Civil War history here. Well I decided to start to check things out for myself, because I am serious about MDing and want to do it the right way

    . Here is what I have found out that might help the rest of you:

    1) Federal Land - obviously a no-no
    2) Private Land - Sure if you have permission from the owner
    3) Virginia Cities, Counties...etc..etc...Well there is a great website to go to which list many of the city and county Municipal codes
    and can be found at http://www.municode.com
    4) I have researched that entire site for the State of Virginia putting in the words "Metal Detecting" and here is what I have come up with:

    City of Alexandria

    Sec. 13-1-40 Metal detecting and digging on city property.
    (a) Except as provided in subsections (b), (c) and (d), it shall be unlawful for any person, while located on city property, to:
    (1) possess or use a mineral or metal detector or any other device or probe to search for objects in, on or below the surface of the soil;
    (2) dig, excavate or in any other way disturb the surface of the soil;
    (3) remove any object found in, on or below the surface of the soil.
    (b) Notwithstanding the prohibitions in subsections (a)(1) and (a)(3), permission may be obtained from the director of the department of recreation, parks and cultural activities, or his designee, to use a metal detector on city property to locate and recover a specific item of personal property which has been lost by the person requesting such permission.
    (c) Notwithstanding the prohibitions in subsection (a)(2), permission to dig on or excavate specific city property may be granted by the city manager, after review of and favorable recommendation on the request by the city archaeologist. Any objects found as a result of such permitted digging or excavation shall remain the property of the city. Any person receiving permission under this subsection shall, at the completion of the work, restore the city property to its previous condition.
    (d) This section shall not apply to activities conducted by city employees during the course of their duties.
    (e) Any person violating this section shall, upon conviction, be guilty of a class three misdemeanor. Each day that a violation continues or occurs shall constitute a separate offense. (Ord. No. 3355, 1/14/89, Sec. 1)

    City of Fredericksburg

    Except as may be contained on a permit issued under this section, no person shall possess or use a mineral or metal detector, magnetometer, side scan sonar or other metal detecting device or sub-bottom profiler on city property within the boundaries of the city or on property owned by the city located outside the city boundaries. This section shall not apply to a device broken down and stored or packed to prevent its use while on city property or to electronic equipment used for the navigation and safe operation of boats.
    (f) Any person who violates any provision of this section shall, upon conviction, be guilty of a class 1 misdemeanor.

    Glouchester County

    Chapter 13.5 PUBLIC PARKS AND RECREATION FACILITIES
    Public parks and recreation facilities means any and all buildings, lands and waters, including roadways, recreation equipment, structures and the flora and fauna therein, owned, leased or operated under the jurisdiction of the county as a park or recreation area and open to the general public for park or recreation purposes. This definition includes, but is not limited to, Abingdon Park, Ark Park, Beaverdam Park, Tyndall's Point Park, Woodville Plantation Park, Gloucester Point Beach and Cedar Bush Creek Public Landing.
    Sec. 13.5-23. Use of electronic metal-detecting devices.
    No person shall utilize any type of electronic metal-detecting device prohibited in any recreational facility.
    City of Hopewell

    Sec. 25-61. Preservation of natural, cultural and archaeological resources.
    (a) Prohibited. The following is prohibited on public streets, roads, sidewalk areas, alleys, parks, rights-of-way, and other municipally owned lands;
    (1) Possessing, destroying, injuring, defacing, removing, digging or disturbing paleontological specimens, cultural, historical or archaeological resources, or parts thereof, residing on said public or municipally owned lands.
    (2) Using a mineral or metal detector, magnetometer, side scan sonar, other metal detecting device, or subbottom profiler, unless such a device is utilized by city personnel, or by a utility company to locate underground pipes, lines, cables or other conduit.
    (b) Penalty. Any person who violates subsection (a) of this section without permission of the city shall, upon conviction, be fined a sum of not more than five hundred dollars ($500.00) or be imprisoned for a period of not more than ninety (90) days, or shall suffer both fine and imprisonment, in the discretion of the court.

    City of Manassas

    Sec. 78-80. Hunting for relics on public property.
    It shall be unlawful for any person, without authority of the city council, to hunt, search out for, attempt to find or seek relics, or to use or be in possession of a metal detector on public grounds or property.
    (Code 1978, 21-37.1)
    Cross references: Streets, sidewalks and other public places, ch. 102.

    City of Newport News

    Sec. 29-20. Application of article; definitions.
    (a) The rules and regulations embodied in this article shall apply to all park lands and waters, roadways therein, recreation facilities, structures, monuments and fountains, bathing beaches, golf courses and the flora and fauna located on park or recreation property and in waters owned by or under the jurisdiction of the city.
    (b) As used in this article, the term "director" means the director of parks and recreation or his duly authorized representative.
    (c) As used in this article, the term "recreational facility" shall be construed to mean and include all areas named in section 29-20(a).
    (d) As used in this article, the term "member" means those individuals with permanent addresses in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

    Sec. 29-49. Use of electronic metal-detecting devices.
    No person shall utilize any type of electronic metal-detecting device in any recreational facility without first obtaining written approval from the director.

    City of Petersburg

    (d) It shall be unlawful for any person, without authority of the city council, to hunt, search out for, attempt to find or seek relics, or to use or be in possession of a mineral or metal detector, magnetometer, side scan sonar or other metal detecting device or sub-bottom profiler on city-owned property within the boundaries of the city or on property owned by the city located outside the city boundaries.
    (e) Any person violating this section shall be guilty of a class 1 misdemeanor; provided, however, that the approval of the owner, his agent, tenant or lessee, or the superintendent or custodian of such park or sanctuary afterwards given in writing or in open court shall be a bar to further prosecution or suit.

    City of Williamsburg

    (f) No person shall appropriate, excavate, injure, search for, remove or destroy any historical ruin, monument or area or any object of antiquity situated in any recreational facility, nor shall any person operate on park premises any type of electronic metal detecting device without first obtaining written approval from the director of parks and recreation. Upon conviction, such locating devices shall be forfeited to the city and may be seized by an officer as forfeited, and as may be needed for historical purposes, such devices shall be devoted to that purpose.

    Heck, there were not as many laws on the books as I had thought, and since I live in Prince William County I am going to hit it hard and heavy since I have not seen any laws to say otherwise. Even a couple of the cities you see above state you can get permission from the Parks director. I have also not looked at Virginia State laws which in many of the municipal codes they referenced. Well maybe next I will look at the Maryland Codes or somebody else could do it but this is a start.

    XTerra-Don

    63bkpkr likes this.
    Garrett AT Pro

  2. #2
    us
    Oct 2006
    Herndon Virginia
    Minelab EX II & Musketeer, White's Classic
    4,283
    888 times

    Re: Virginia Metal Detecting Laws

    Don,

    I have been in contact with the Fairfax county department of History Resources. I can't remember the exact wording of the law in Ffx, but it didn't use the words "metal detector". It IMPLIES metal detector in a very broad statement about searching for, disturbing, and/or removing "relics". Relics are described as ANYTHING that indicates human inhabitants. Technically, it means you can't even pick up a soda can or cigarette butt with the possibility of facing class 1 misdemeanor charges for the first offense.

    This includes any government (city, county, state, federal) owned property - even road easement. The Virginia state code grants local jurisdiction.

    That said, I have a friend with the county police department. He said you probably would NOT get arrested (except in battlefield parks) unless somebody in the local government made a big stink about it.

    Still confused now? I am...

    So I hunt private property, with permission, almost exclusively. Then I don't have to worry about the law.

    DCMatt
    While I have aimed in my postings to be irenic and conciliatory, rather than polemic, I have yet endeavored to set forth the
    truth, let it favor or impugn whom it might. Any notice of misrepresentations or mistakes occurring in these prose will be most thankfully received
    by the author.

  3. #3

    Feb 2007
    Southwest Virginia
    White's MXT SunRay DX-1 Garrett ACE 250, Fisher VLF-555D Pro, Fisher VLF-552D
    94

    Re: Virginia Metal Detecting Laws

    Boy am I glad I live out here in the SW portion of the state! Except for the State Parks where permits are required about all other public land (except Federal) is free game including public parks, school grounds, town parks and playgrounds, county land, town property, etc. As to private land we always ask first but have had few turn downs. Big Brother is in the eastern part of the state and I hope he stays there!

    Ken

  4. #4

    Jun 2007
    norfolk.va
    xlt
    44

    Re: Virginia Metal Detecting Laws

    well looks like norfolk,vabeach, and a few other citys are still wide open.hehe...
    skullhunter.va

  5. #5
    us
    Ann of RonandAnn left to venture TNet on her own as LadyDigger!

    Jun 2006
    Virginia Beach
    Minelab Exp II
    2,078
    4 times
    Honorable Mentions (1)

    Re: Virginia Metal Detecting Laws

    SkullHunter...yep....we sure are....

    I called the VA BEACH CITY OFFICE (several times on different days)...and was told the same thing:

    There are no laws on the books. We are free to metal detect. Have respect for those on the beach when they are sunbathing (in other words...don't tick off the cities monies!!)...private land of course, with permission. She even said you can hunt the mediums...but the police might chase you off, more for safety issues!

    The City of Chesapeake is the same way. Even called the person in charge of both the Va Beach and Chesapeake parks and was told all were open to metal detecting, just cover your holes. I do the parks from time to time and I let them know what I find. Nothing that is considered "historical" though, just your average piece of jewelry (usually junk) and clad.

    As for Federal Land, I have been given permission to hunt at two of the Naval Bases here. I went through the Security Officer of the base.

    Both the City Park Officials and the Security Officer gave me their names and numbers and said if I had any problems to have that "problem" call them.

    I have yet to venture into Norfolk...how are the hunts in your neck of the woods? Lots and Lots of awesome history lies in your backyard!!!! Not that we don't have that in my neck of the woods...but with battles and such....I think you have more history there...besides, Va Beach is building on every square inch of empty land here UGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Happy Hunting ya'll,
    Annmarie

    PS: only the park officials and the security officer know my name...any other calls, I never stated who I was, where I was or anything and of course, on base, RESTRICTED AREAS are just that!!!
    Ron - Professional Printer, Fishing, Diving, Asst Scoutmaster Troop 65
    Proud parent of 1 daughter and 2 sons!!!

  6. #6
    us
    Mar 2007
    Kerrville, TX
    White's DFX: Minelab Excalibur 1000
    1,184
    3 times

    Re: Virginia Metal Detecting Laws

    XTerraDon,
    Good post and info. Living here in Manassas, I can attest for the MD restrictions...no public land...to include tot lots, school grounds, etc.

    DCMatt,
    Give you a good hint...FFX will not allow in the tot lots, county parks, school grounds, etc. And yes, you can be arrested...or banned from said areas. I was booted out of Fairfax County Park earlier this year...was trying to MD a torn up soccer field. After getting booted off, I checked with the FFX County Police substation in Reston. Was referred to FFX Park Authorities.
    --Mel

    borninok
    To conquer your flaws, you must first accept them.

  7. #7
    us
    Mar 2007
    SE Virginia
    Minelab Explorer SE Pro / Whites Prism II
    1,611
    56 times
    Banner Finds (1)

    Re: Virginia Metal Detecting Laws

    Yeah its kind of hard finding public land to hunt on down here. I stick with private properties mostly and have gotten enough "yes" answers to keep me busy for a while. I just try to mention MDing in conversations with folks and it usually gets me leads and permission.

    Ron and Ann: Thanks for the info about chesapeake and VA beach. Good stuff to know. Any idea if it is allowed south of the public park in Sandbridge, where the fishing and ATV section is? We take the kids quite often, great beach but the hotels are starting to move in much too quickly.

    As far as Norfolk goes I have sent a message to the Parks and Rec person to see about hunting a park down there (which is probably hunted out ). He responded that he did not know but would get back to me with an answer but that was 4 months ago.

  8. #8
    us
    Not so new anymore

    Jun 2006
    Oklahoma City, OK
    127
    1 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting

    Re: Virginia Metal Detecting Laws

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron and Ann

    As for Federal Land, I have been given permission to hunt at two of the Naval Bases here. I went through the Security Officer of the base.

    Nice! I've been lucky enough to get permission to MD on several military bases throughout the years. Only once have I been told no (an Air Force base) and that was because the Security Officer there was familiar with the law - not at all on Federal Land. Anyway, for those of you that can get permission at places like this, don't forget to try to get it in writing, it could just save your gear when that Legal Officer drives/hikes by and sees you!

  9. #9

    Jun 2007
    norfolk.va
    xlt
    44

    Re: Virginia Metal Detecting Laws

    as far as norfolk i have'nt had any promblems.in any public parks,schools,beach.same thing when i venture into va.beach, suffolk.
    skullhunter.va

  10. #10

    Jul 2007
    Culpeper,Va
    fisher 1236x / whites xlt / garret ace250
    300

    Re: Virginia Metal Detecting Laws

    i go to a local school now and then and have had no problems, however, i did'nt ask and nobody asked any questions i even saw the sheriff go by a couple of times he did'nt even slow down. this was on a sunday early so there was'nt many people out yet. there is a park close to me here in culpeper that won't even let you have a detector in yor vehicle.

    I think the county gov. needs to concentrate on the gang infiltration and other problems in our society and not people having "inocent fun"
    - just a thought
    KDMB

  11. #11

    Feb 2007
    Southwest Virginia
    White's MXT SunRay DX-1 Garrett ACE 250, Fisher VLF-555D Pro, Fisher VLF-552D
    94

    Re: Virginia Metal Detecting Laws

    I had an uncle who lived in Culpeper back before everthing got politically correct and he found tons of relics. That was about 45 years ago. He has since passed on but his two sons are still alive but I have lost contact with them. I'd love to know if they have any of his relics left.

  12. #12

    Jul 2007
    Culpeper,Va
    fisher 1236x / whites xlt / garret ace250
    300

    Re: Virginia Metal Detecting Laws

    Well, I know that there is still plenty of relics in Culpeper, you just have to have a place to go...
    KDMB

  13. #13

    Feb 2007
    Southwest Virginia
    White's MXT SunRay DX-1 Garrett ACE 250, Fisher VLF-555D Pro, Fisher VLF-552D
    94

    Re: Virginia Metal Detecting Laws

    JC,
    I have found that local governments as well as at the state and federal level go for the easy targets... kind of like whistling through the graveyard. Here where I live, within a year our battlefield will be covered completely by a new Super Wal-Mart with the associated shopping center and a hospital. The Historical society has been thrown out of their home which is a county owned building and they have no place to go so their fine displays are having to be put in storage. Of course money is driving the entire rape of history here but that is America today.

    The irony of it is that we, the metal detector enthusiasts, may in an unique way come out on top for we will be the only ones who have the relics of our history and can show them to the public. Part of my collection is on loan to a local business and the owner says the display is an attention getter for him. With the historical society shut down there is no where else to see real relics of the local Civil War battle.

    I don't know where this is going and at the age of 61 I probably won't live to see the worst of it but I see no good in the near future as far as preserving history. One day the protected battlefields will, I believe, have their own hunts since no one can justify leaving the relics in the ground and possibly sell them to keep the battlefield parks open.

    When I grew up here the battles that took place in our county were never mentioned in history classes. Now it looks like they were ahead of their time since now our entire history is trying to be sent off to the landfill, hidden under some huge parking lot or stuffed away in some storage warehouse.

    And as those of us who have a genuine interest in local history die off there will be no one to take our place since local history will be totally forgotten with us gone. It reminds me of the comparison of the present day metal detectors vs the detectors of the late 1970s and early 1980s. The machines today are not as good as the old machines for a simple reason. While the computers inside these new machines are jumping around with a little bit of ground mineralization or rusted iron in the ground the old machines ignored it and find the deep stuff that the new machines ignore as they process the mineralization. Just this past weekend a friend who has a new machine and I hunted an area right beside the old battlefield. He is well versed in the use of his machine and although I own the exact same model I hunted with an old Fisher VLF-555D. To make the test fair I hunted behind him by about 30 feet. The results amazed even me! He found no relics while I found a handfull of mini-balls and one button. He did find a memorial penny from the late 1970s but nothing more. Most of the relics were at about 6-8" while his penny was at 3". I even reburied one of the mini-balls and his machine didn't give out a peep. Progress!

    Take care my friend and I hope you get on some good land around Culpeper and preserve your local history.
    The General

  14. #14
    us
    Jan 2007
    Pound, Virginia
    Whites XLT
    19

    Re: Virginia Metal Detecting Laws

    Very good post Gen. B.

  15. #15
    us
    Larry

    Jan 2007
    ~Florida~
    Ace 150, centech pinpointer, Chinese Viper Underwater detector
    415

    Re: Virginia Metal Detecting Laws

    Hey

    I used to live in Va and know for a fact if you are caught in Williamsburg, dont expect to get your property back!!! We are talkin major historical land!!

    I would say anything between williamsburg and richmond is fair game. And anything below williamsburg.

    Larry
    Looking for detecting friends in Jacksonville, FL: Larryyarb@bellsouth.net

    Invest in planet Earth: Metal Detect!

 

 
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